This research was conducted with financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. We thank E. McCloskey and M. Sullivan of the Chicago Police Department and J. Bannon and R. Hislop of the Detroit Police Department for their many courtesies. For their roles in developing the homicide data files and facilitating our use thereof, we thank C. R. Block, R. Block, and R. L. Drake in Chicago; M. Wilt-Swanson in Detroit; J. LaCroix and J. Turner of the Statistics Canada Centre for Justice Statistics; K. Shaw of the British Home office; and F. Hird of the Scottish Home office. For discussion and prepublication information, we thank C. R. Block, R. Block, C. A. Carlson, R. E. Dobash, R. P. Dobash, R. Gartner, K. Polk, and A. Wallace. These analyses were undertaken while M. Wilson and M. Daly were fellows of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences with financial support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation (BNS87-008), the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the Gordon P. Getty Trust, and while M. Daly was a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
WHO KILLS WHOM IN SPOUSE KILLINGS? ON THE EXCEPTIONAL SEX RATIO OF SPOUSAL HOMICIDES IN THE UNITED STATES*
Version of Record online: 7 MAR 2006
Volume 30, Issue 2, pages 189–216, May 1992
How to Cite
WILSON, M. I. and DALY, M. (1992), WHO KILLS WHOM IN SPOUSE KILLINGS? ON THE EXCEPTIONAL SEX RATIO OF SPOUSAL HOMICIDES IN THE UNITED STATES. Criminology, 30: 189–216. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1992.tb01102.x
Margo Wilson is Associate Professor of Psychology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1. Her research interests include spousal conflict, male sexual proprietariness, risk taking, and discriminative parental solicitude.
Martin Daly is Professor of Psychology and Biology at McMaster University. He is coauthor (with Margo Wilson) of Sex, Evolution and Behavior (Wadsworth, 1983) and Homicide (Aldine de Gruyter, 1988).
- Issue online: 7 MAR 2006
- Version of Record online: 7 MAR 2006
A hitherto unremarked peculiarity of homicide in the United States is that women kill their husbands almost as often as the reverse. For every 100 US. men who kill their wives, about 75 women kill their husbands; this spousal “sex ratio of killing” (SROK) is more than twice that in other Western nations. Our analyses of spousal homicide samples from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain indicate that this contrast cannot be attributed to greater gun use in the United States, nor to a domain-general convergence of the sexes in their uses of violence. Significant predictors of the spousal SROK include registered versus de facto marriage, coresidency versus separation, ethnicity, and age disparity, but the impacts of these variables are not sufficient to explain the differences between US. and other nations’victim sex ratios.